Traveling as a child in the early 90s, squished between my parents as a passenger on a rusty motorcycle, the sight of the lush painted mural of the Pudu Jail wall was one of the most memorable things that passed my view.
I thought it was wonderfully endless, an examination of patience, a green fantasy world wrapping a sad core, a bittersweet gift from an inmate. The person who painted it served his sentence by visualising, in his mind, a much better place: with sufficient oxygen, soft beds of moss, the sound of tropical birds, filtered sunlight, something more natural than a concrete box.
I hope he inspired many of his friends there.
Driving past earlier in a car, no longer dangerously balanced in the middle of the motorcycle, I caught glimpses of the painted landscape again, paint peeling, many people photographing, bulldozers ready, reporters working late into the night.
(Note: the two photographs of the Pudu Jail were taken in September 2005)
Don’t call me home, little sister
Before the night is done
My love and I are fleeing
Running into the sun.
Take up all your jewels and gold,
Bury them away in the earth.
Let your memory reduce them to dust
But don’t forget the knife that was thrust.
Frozen kiss by the fountain
Running into the sea
Where shadows choose their horrors
Designed for music.
Turn to fly, go away,
Little bird, please don’t stay,
Fare thee well.
* * *
PS — It is the juxtaposition of words by the men in The Velvet Underground and Nico’s heartbreaking deep German voice that makes certain tracks like this one (Little Sister) such a pleasure to listen to during lonesome monsoon nights. Friends, please join me sometimes, listen to such works in the dark, as usual, when it is deathly quiet during the pauses, with the insects outside the only audible noises.
PPS — The above photograph features my ‘tai ka chieh’, not little one.
Dream fragments nobody would bother reading because these things didn’t happen in real life.
1. Shitty ‘duck noodles’ for RM6.50 in the old school canteen, sold to me by an Indonesian lady who was new there. I was very angry at the standards. I saw a man warming up tea by pouring liquid into a large fold of his skin on his arm, and remember turning away because it was so geli.
2. Making a really fast flying dash into a house that resembled Rimbun Dahan from the canteen, so people could think I was a pontianak. Such lust atmosphere, moist air and blue. Building momentum, leaping, piercing the night air.
3. Watching a Spike Jonze-ish movie with a youth protagonist as a football player who falls in love with his bully victim (haha how predictable). In the end, the person he was kissing because a bear. ‘Field athlete’ and woodland affection. I was in the cinema with the father, and I clapped, and said it was very good, even though a lot of the conversation was too abstract for my liking (like reading an Irvine Welsh book maybe?).